Tickets have gone on sale for next month’s Chiswick Book Festival, which will take place in front of live audiences, after last year’s event was held online because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This year’s speakers include Gyles Brandreth and Ed Balls, talking about their memoirs; Clare Balding on her first non-fiction book for children; Alan Johnson on his first novel; and, from New York, Emily Mortimer, who wrote the BBC’s adaptation of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, who lived in Chiswick.
In case of further changes in Government COVID advice, organisers are initially putting on sale only half the potential tickets. They have also increased the number of venues, partly to reduce overcrowding. New venues this year include Chiswick Cinema, the University of West London in Ealing and the Boston Room of the George IV pub in Chiswick High Road, which will host sessions on the main Festival weekend as well as two pre-Festival events.
The Festival director Torin Douglas said:
“We are delighted to welcome book-lovers in person after last year’s online festival, but we want to reassure people we are being cautious in terms of COVID advice. We’re only selling half the tickets to start with, and though we hope to add more, we’d encourage people to book early to avoid disappointment.”
Images above: Clare Balding; Ed Balls; Gyles Brandreth
Highlights from the first two days of the Festival
Thursday 9 September
The Festival opens formally on Thursday 9 September in the Garden Pavilion at Chiswick House & Gardens, with a panel session exploring the life and work of Nancy Mitford and her sisters. It will include an interview with Emily Mortimer, the writer and director of the BBC serialisation of The Pursuit of Love. It will be chaired by Jane Thynne (Widowland) and will include Jessica Fellowes, author of the Mitford Murders series, and Bridget Osborne, editor of The Chiswick Calendar, who will explore the Chiswick connections of Nancy Mitford and her sisters. Read more here.
Friday 10 September
The prizes for the Festival’s 11th Young People’s Poetry Competition will be presented by Clare Balding on the afternoon of Friday 10 September and she’ll then talk about her inspirational new book for children, Fall Off, Get Back On, Keeping Going.
At 6.30pm, in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Theatre at Arts Ed, the Emmy-award-winning film, TV and theatre director Alvin Rakoff will talk about his memoirs, I’m Just The Guy Who Says Action. A Chiswick neighbour and friend of Richard Briers, Alvin has seen it all, from Z Cars and the BBC Shakespeare, and working with Laurence Olivier and Peter Sellers, to discovering Sean Connery and Alan Rickman.
At 8.00pm in St Michael & All Angels Church, political commentator Steve Richards talks about The Prime Ministers We Never Had – eleven individuals who never quite made it to Number 10, including RA Butler, Denis Healey, Michael Heseltine and Jeremy Corbyn.
Highlights of the main weekend
Speakers will include Gyles Brandreth, Ed Balls, Mary Anne Sieghart, Anne Sebba, Sarfraz Manzoor, Tim Marshall, Steve Richards, Dr Amir Khan, Andrew Lownie, Suzannah Lipscomb, Parm Sandhu, Stuart Prebble, Dr Jim Down, Suzette Llewellyn, Suzanne Packer, Roger Hermiston, Jacqueline Riding, Rory Cellan-Jones and many more.
Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson will introduce his first novel and there will be acclaimed fiction from Jessica Fellowes, Elizabeth Buchan, Nancy Tucker, Susan Spindler, Charles Cumming, Peter Hanington, Cathy Rentzenbrink and many more.
Children’s authors include Chitra Soundar, Rob Biddulph, Josie Dom (on the very timely Animalympics), and the return of Chiswick favourites Zoe Antoniades, Joshua Seigal and Neil Zetter, as well as Clare Balding, fresh from presenting the real Olympics.
Book tickets here: Chiswick Book Festival ticket link
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